Turkey Hunting: May I?

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EDITORS TIP: Check with “deer hunting clubs” in your area to see if anyone turkey hunts their lease.  Many do not and will be willing to grant you permission in exchange for a nominal fee, helping to plant food plots, or simply looking after their property when they are away.

It's been a long morning.....he gobbled a few times on the limb and by now you are sure he is on the ground. Only he is silent now, and the only vocalizations are the fading chatter of hens. You sit and think of your next move, and when you make your move, you realize that you’re running out of ground and that the bird you are chasing has conveniently placed himself in your neighbor’s cotton field. This is what I call a runaway gobbler. He's not spooked, but he has gotten away. You struggled to find that lease all summer, and while sitting in the deer stand, your hopes were heightened by the large droves of turkeys picking through your food plots only to find out that when spring finally arrived that there were only few big gobblers to chase. Fear not, for you will have fun chasing just a few birds......unless your property is just of temporary use to them.                                                                                                                                                                                         
First thing first… something I not only preach, but practice more than most people I know. BE A NOSY NEIGHBOR! When you acquire a lease or a property to hunt, immediately investigate to find out who your property neighbors are.  Whether it is by knocking on a door, checking your county parcel map, or simply reading a posted sign, FIND OUT!

Now that you are aware of your surroundings, think about the turkey hunting opportunities at your fingertips.  Think of how awesome it would be to have an endless amount of acreage to romp on for a happy-go-lucky turkey hunter like you. Sure, you are not expecting an evil ol' gobbler to give you the slip under any circumstances, but you'd be crossing barbed-wire fences like a pro..... a legal pro! Is it wrong to think that people are willing to consider granting permission to ONE low profile turkey hunter for a 6-7 week season? Not all landowners are hunters and not all landowners lease their land out. Given, one of the main reasons (to my knowledge) is that landowners usually don't want a bunch of people with guns running amuck on their granddaddy’s land blasting everything in sight. I call those people deer hunters. A turkey hunter shoots a short distance weapon, and definitely does not want to share his big bird haven with another soul. So just think about it.

You know the lay of the land and you are surrounded by big timber, beaver swamps, cut overs, and agricultural fields. You've played it out in your head over and over of how you’re going to ask old man Johnson about stepping foot on his turkey paradise of a farm.  Just do it already! The worst he can say is no.  It's like asking a millionaire for $100,000...it's worth a shot. On the other hand, he could say yes but under the circumstances of payment....uh oh. When you engage in the conversation of an offer for turkey rights immediately offer a helping hand around the farm. Try trading a service for the rights. Heck offer him some free turkey breast! If he's hard on receiving money for the rights, start low. This isn't a year round lease and it’s only for 6-7 weeks. Let him know you want the rights but that you also know the scale of what is at hand. In reality, if he sees you as no harm and he's a nice guy, he might just say sure....come kill'em all!

Getting permission isn't the easiest thing in the world. There are people out there who if you offered them a million bucks, they would still say no for reasons beyond any other human being. But like I mentioned, it's worth a shot. If you don't ask, you won't know. If you think you need to, try and expand your hunting area by doing so. Some parting advice....don't act desperate, don't offer money right off the bat, explain the gravity of the situation and that you will be of no interference to the landowner. Be polite, and assure them that while you are on their property, you will treat it with the same amount of respect you treat your own property.
Sage Morris
Sage Morris was born and raised in south Alabama. He has always had a passion for the outdoors and became very fond of turkey hunting at a young age. He runs a small scale guide service and is a 365 day a year addict when it comes to turkeys and turkey hunting. Follow Sage on twitter: @SEeasterns
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